Ravens safety Ed Reed was suspended one game without pay by the NFL for repeated violations of rules pertaining to player safety.
During the third quarter of the Ravens’ 13-10 victory over the Steelers, Reed hit wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, colliding helmets and drawing a subsequent 15-yard personal foul penalty.
Keep in mind, this all occurred in the same game the NFL allowed Steelers safety Ryan Clark to play despite his suffering two concussions in the previous three weeks.
Football players are only one play away from a potentially life-altering or deadly collision and player safety should be on the top of the priority list – especially with pending lawsuits from many former players.
However, to suspend Reed because he’s supposedly a consistent threat to player safety when Clark is on the same field is an absolute joke.
During his press conference, coach John Harbaugh stated that Reed would appeal his suspension and the Ravens expect to hear from the league by Wednesday.
Whether Reed is allowed to play in San Diego is a non-factor…this is about principle.
I have no problem with a player being suspended for three hits to the helmet within three calendar years. Reed has been playing football long enough to know how to tackle and know that if he gets low, he’ll have no chance of colliding helmets while also having a better chance of bringing down his opponent.
The reason Reed keeps getting flagged, and now suspended, is because he can’t tackle. Reed is injured and frankly can become a liability to the defense if he must rely on making big hits to bring a player to the ground.
Reed’s injury is no secret, especially after the Ravens were fined $20,000 by the league for not listing him on the injury report despite his not missing any playing time. The injury has limited Reed’s range of motion in his shoulder – he can barely toss a football back to a JUGS machine operator during practice.
If he can barely toss a football back, how can he be expected to extend his arms and make a tackle? The coaching staff apparently believes Reed’s subpar tackling is worth the tradeoff with the fear he strikes in the hearts of opposing quarterbacks.
Even though he’s injured, the week he’ll be suspended from the Ravens facility, team practices and the upcoming game against the Chargers won’t really do him any good. Aside from the common bumps and bruises a player takes that may heal, Reed’s shoulder injury is too serious to benefit from only a week off.
Am I upset or shocked Reed is suspended? No, keeping his head up is a byproduct of not being able to go low and wrap up with an injured shoulder. But, am I upset at the principle for basing the suspension on player safety when Ryan Clark is still on the field (wearing an oversized Darth Vader helmet, mind you) after suffering his second concussion in less than two weeks and six days prior to last night’s game – you better believe it.
As it is when they propose games every Thursday night and an 18-game regular season, the hypocrisy and inconsistency of the NFL with regards to player safety is yet again on full display.